Movie of the week this week goes to a show instead. Yellowstone is a new show written and directed by Taylor Sheridan, the king of the modern day western drama. I worried that this might have ended up a watered down version of Sheridan due to it being a network television show, but it seems that I was worried about nothing. Yellowstone pulls absolutely no punches and feels just like any other more recent work by Sheridan. It’s kind of a combination of the isolated location near an Indian reservation of Wind River and the modern southern dysfunctional criminal family of Hell or High Water.
Kevin Costner stars as the head of a powerful mega-ranching family in Montana and the show follows him and his horribly messed up children as they do anything it takes to hold on to their power as they face the angry tribal government of the local Indian reservation on one side and an out-of-town real estate giant trying to build a new subdivision on the other side. As usual with a Taylor Sheridan production, it’s brutally bleak and dark, with random bursts of extreme violence. Not the kind of thing you want to watch if you want anyone to have a happy ending, but a damn good show otherwise.
A largely forgotten thriller from the early 90’s, Pacific Heights has Michael Keaton playing a crazy squatter/identity thief who takes residence in a young couple’s new home and won’t get out. I can see why it’s forgotten, it doesn’t do anything particularly memorably. Keaton doesn’t get enough chances to be truly crazy and I forgot how awful Melanie Griffith actually was at acting. It’s watchable, but mostly forgettable.
Another day, another shitty, generic giallo movie. Seems to hard to find good ones. So many of them are just like this, just a generic murder mystery with completely unlikable characters and no interesting kills. This one was about someone who keeps picking off people on a tour bus through Italy and taking one of their eyes each time. Impossibly, despite the fact that these murders are only happening on this specific tour, neither the police or the victims ever think to stop the tour, no matter how many more people get killed on it. Pretty ridiculous. Also another Umberto Lenzi film, who I always see all this praise for, but have yet to enjoy a single one of his movies. I should probably stop trying his stuff at this point.
More forgotten horror trash. This seemed to have an interesting premise, with a disgraced puritan-days preacher and his family going to live out in the wilderness as outcasts, but wandering into some kind of cursed area of the woods, but it’s just such a boring, low-quality production that I couldn’t manage to care. DNF.
At least I made it through the E’s in the horror crap pile though…
Well, there’s no defending this one. Absolutely awful tryhard edgefest that takes an iconic supernatural slasher and turns him into an angry redneck child with the most cliched dysfunctional hick family you could possibly imagine. It took almost half of the painfully long movie just to set up this sad new excuse for Michael Myers’ origin and I couldn’t even make it to the half where he actually escaped and started his Halloween rampage because I just couldn’t take any more of the cheap juvenile shock value garbage leading up to it.
Speaking of cinematic disasters, what the fuck is this movie?? This forgotten bomb by the director of the excellent Donnie Darko apparently has a very enthusiastic cult following who swears up and down that Southland Tales is just a deep and brilliant misunderstood masterpiece.
The plot is certainly convoluted, with a strange near-future version of America being introduced through a shitload of clumsy exposition, which is ruled by your typical Orwellian ultra-conservative satires, who are being “fought” by a rebellion made up of “neo-Marxists”, who are basically just a bunch of bumbling, ineffectual ultra-liberal satires with very senseless-seeming goals. Also there’s some kind of strange conspiracy regarding a mysterious new energy source created by the government baddies. Wow, what a bunch of biting political commentary!
Thing is though, it’s all played like a comedy, yet none of it is even one bit funny. It’s also got some of the absolute worst dialogue and performances I’ve ever seen in a relatively big budget movie. What’s with the cast too? This movie oddly digs up all these forgotten people like John Larroquette, Christopher Lambert, and that “inconceivable” guy from The Princess Bride who I don’t even care enough about to look up, and these people are all just scattered throughout the movie in bit parts, and they can’t even get those right.
It’s just a disaster. It belongs in a special section of cinema hell with the likes of forgotten dumpster fires like 1941 and Nothing But Trouble.
Well, at least I saw ONE good thing this week. Sudden Death was a movie that I passed over back in the day, probably due to my dwindling interest in Van Damme movies after he started releasing snoozers like Nowhere To Run and The Quest, and then started going rapidly downhill with stuff like Street Fighter. Turns out Sudden Death is actually pretty awesome though. It’s pretty well written for what it is, with a clever plot and some really inventive kills. Van Damme has a martial arts fight with someone in a giant penguin costume and kills them with an industrial dishwasher and if that hasn’t sold you on this movie already, I don’t even know what else to tell you!
And we’re ending on another stinker. This looked like it would be a fun Ultraman/Godzilla type movie full of wacky asian monster fights, but I just couldn’t get into it. It’s basically just a Chinese knockoff of better, Japanese stuff. The costumes looked interesting in very quick doses in the trailer, but when you have the chance to look at them for longer while actually watching the movie, they’re not so great. Inframan’s costume in particular is pretty awful. The effects are weak even for this kind of film and the editing is some of the worst I’ve ever seen. There are a lot of clearly unintentional abrupt cuts to other scenes and some really poorly done stop motion effects where they were too lazy to bother lining all the scenes up properly. Just didn’t like it at all. Oh well. Better luck next time, I hope…